The freedom to dig for new clues is something we should never take for granted. What with Britain's slide into totalitarianism, it's a wonder anyone is learning anything about the past. If Stonehenge were in London, no one would be allowed near it without being barcoded, stamped, processed, searched and registered.
Scientists have discovered a pre-Stonehenge formation, called Bluestonehenge, and it's certainly worth writing about because of the significance of the find and the solid work done by researchers:
British archaeologists have found the remains of a massive stone henge, or ceremonial circle, that was part of the ancient and celebrated Stonehenge complex, a find that is shedding new light on how the monument was built and its religious uses.
The new henge, called Bluestonehenge because it was built with blue Preseli dolerite mined more than 150 miles away in Wales, was on the banks of the River Avon, where ancient pilgrims carrying the ashes of their dead relatives began the journey from the river to Stonehenge, nearly two miles away. Some are calling it the "little sister" of Stonehenge.
The approximately 25 massive bluestones were erected in a circle about 5,000 years ago, and eventually were encircled by a ditch and an earthen embankment.
About 500 years later, however, the stones were moved and incorporated into Stonehenge itself.
All that is left of the circle are the holes where the stones sat in the ground and a few chips of dolerite.
The fact that the monument was found at the beginning of an avenue leading to Stonehenge and near the river "not only solidifies the view that Stonehenge covers the entire landscape, but also the sacred importance of the river itself," said archaeologist Christine Hastorf of UC Berkeley, who was not involved in the research.
"It means that there was a link between Stonehenge and the water, out to the ocean," she said.
I love henges, and I tried to dig one around my home in Maryland last year to improve some of the drainage problems we were having. I completed about 12% of the ditch, which was barely a foot deep, and gave up. I am a badass, but I'm not crazy. It was hawt, sir. Gatorade doesn't work like it used to for me, and we were out of potato chips.
Some background for you:
Stonehenge is made up of concentric circles of massive stones, some weighing as much as 50 tons, surrounded by a ditch and an earthen bank. The structure is aligned with sunrise on the summer solstice, and researchers have long viewed it as both an astronomical observatory and a cemetery.
A team led by archaeologist Michael Parker Pearson of the University of Sheffield made the discovery while excavating in the area of Stonehenge during the last several years.
Its findings have suggested that the entire site, which stretched from the river to Stonehenge, was a religious complex where ancient peoples gathered at certain times of the year to celebrate life and bury their dead.
Never forget that early man had a propensity for war, and that Stonehenge could have been the place where war was decided and planned. It is always better to plan for war around a round table, hence the Knights of the Round table and your better conference tables are all based on being in the round, just like Stonehenge.
We will never know what those ancients were like, but they were just like us, weird and freaky, confused and frightened by loud booms and bright lights. Stonehenge was their way of dealing with everything terrifying. No wonder we build things that make us feel comfortable.